Sunday, April 29, 2012

Tashi and Peep

With Peep in the house, I thought it was time to let Tashi and Ayn Chee see her up close, and let them both know that she is off limits.  Sometimes I bring Peep with me to the computer, and she sits on my lap while I type.  Last night I kept the door to my office open and Tashi came in.  She is a big dog - about 60 pounds - and her head is as high as my lap.  She came over to examine Peep.  I was sure there would be outrage.  Curiously there was none!  Peep looked her over, she was silent through it all, then she reached out with her little beak and laid one on Tashi's nose.  I couldn't believe it.  Wish I could have caught a picture of that!

Tonight Peep is in the atrium.  The closet was starting to carry just a little too much Peeparoma, even with frequent changing of the paper in the box.  She is getting so big!  I thought there might be a bit of crying tonight, since I took her light away.  Perhaps it was the natural darkening as the sun set, but she is silent.  I just went out there to tell her goodnight, and there were three or four soft peeps,  She is hunkered down for the night and seems very content.  To think I brought the crippled little chick in to die in peace and comfort.

Life is good.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A quick update on Peep II

Peep is doing great since she got her mirror.  She is standing well, walking well, eating better.  I do think she is going to make it.  We all need friends, don't we?  And now Peep has one, too.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Peep has a friend.

Peep is not doing very well.  Her regular feathers are not coming in.  The chick fluff is getting thinner.  Her wings look almost like lace when she spreads them.  But she is standing more than she did, and she continues to eat and drink water.  I just tell myself that what will be will be.  I am surprised that she has made it this far.

She peeps almost continuously.  I hope it is not stress.  It goes like this:  peep peep peep peep PEEP!  Always five in a row.  Then a little pause and another five peeps with the accent on the last peep.

Today I bought her a mirror.  When she saw herself in the mirror, she immediately stopped peeping.  I left the closet so that she could get to know her new friend.  When I stuck my head in the closet a few minutes ago, her peep pattern had changed.  Now it is peep peep peep (pause) peep peep peep (pause) peep peep peep.  I wonder what it means?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I have a hardware store!

Recently we had a problem with our sump pump.  The pump was clogged, the sump hole a mess!  Luis, bless his heart, got in there and got it cleaned out.  He told me that we needed a screen in there, to get him some hardware cloth to strain out the big bits before they could clog up the pump.

I had to go to Tractor Supply for some other things and inquired if they had hardware cloth.  I wanted a piece that was 30" x 30".  Sure, I could buy hardware cloth, but I would have to buy a twelve-foot roll.  I said, "No thanks.  have a hardware store!"

I love my hardware store.  It is very near the Farmers Market and is independently owned, although they are aligned with Builders.  I suppose that allows them to get some price breaks.  Anything to help keep these small shops in business.  I really do hate shopping at Menard's and Lowe's.  I understand the concept with the big box stores, but I feel so totally helpless in them!  You have to run down a clerk, and half the time they are clueless as to where I can find things, much less how to use them or how to fix something.  Some are okay, but as I said, I have to hunt them down.

I left Tractor Supply and figured I would stop by my hardware store today after market.  I did, and I was not disappointed.  I asked them if I could take some pictures for my blog.  Here they are.  

PS - I stopped in today to give them a card with the web address so they could see their pictures.  Two customers were there, and two shop people, having an intense discussion on how to fix a handle.  Nothing like that goes on in a big box store!

A customer checks out - no waiting in line

Cutting to order
Stocking shelves

My hero, the hardware cloth cutter

Variety of goods for sale

The old world
Sort of new world

My purchase - $4.63 worth of hardware cloth, what I need and no more.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Depressing weather

My apple trees were still in bloom, in spite of two nights at 27º.  I just heard on TV that 25º will kill apple blossoms.  I looked at my weather station.  It's 25º right now, and expected to keep falling until 7:00 a.m., still an hour and a half off.  My son gave me all of my apple trees, over a few years.  Very special Mother's Day gifts.  I got my first five apples last year, every one of them delicious.

It appears there will be no apples this year.

The Michigan fruit growers are unhappy.  There are pockets of slightly warmer weather, but they are getting hit hard.  Cherries may make it, but peaches are a done deal.  Another year . . .

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Peep and I

Peep and I are enjoying quality time together.  She is on my lap as I write this, softly peeping and enjoying cuddling up on my lap.   It doesn't get any better than this.

Happy Easter.

Susan, the Accidental Farmer

Saturday, April 7, 2012

I'm feeling grumpy tonight.

I have worked way too many hours this week.  I think, "Well, if I put in extra hours today, then I will get caught up."  But it doesn't happen.  The next day is just as hard.  On Friday, four shareholders came out and helped clean the barn.  What a great help that was!  They did most of the work, with me stopping in to send them to the next task, bring tools and equipment, haul out old hay from the barn to the mulch pile in the garden.  But I was always busy, never sat down, realized at 5:00 that I hadn't eaten any lunch. At the end of the day, the pile of work waiting for me was just as high.

Today market was very busy.  Phyllis and I inventoried honey, spices and essential oils between customers.  No time to sit down.  Phyllis finally insisted that I sit while she finished the essential oils on her own. 

After market, all I wanted to do was come home, do my evening chores and go to bed.  But a guy was coming to buy a calf.  I have decided to keep Earl.  He has a great personality, was kicking up his heels within an hour of birth, and has a grandmother and a mother who both milk very well.  So he will be our next breeding bull.  The other one - well, I have a hard time naming them when I know they are going to be fed out for meat.  So Smarty Pants's calf left this evening, and she is crying for him.  I am ready to burst into tears myself.  I just HATE this part of the whole thing.  She will be over it in a few days.  But tonight I will listen to her grief.

From the uneducated regarding farm life, there are two statements that really bug me.  One is that animals don't have emotions.  Tell that to Smarty Pants tonight.  Come over here and listen to her, watch her, and tell me that it isn't emotion she is feeling.

The other one is to hear that humans are the only animals that drink milk from another species.  Who started that fairy tale?  I have never figured that one out.  I had a dog that nursed a full grown cat.  My cat drinks cream (no milk for her, just the good stuff).  Both of my dogs LOVE kefir and have it every day.  The chickens go nuts when I take old milk or whey out to them.  When people see that I have raw milk at the market, they often feel beholden to bring me up to speed. Why do I hear that one so often, when it has no basis in fact?

As you can see, even without reading my title, yes, I am grumpy tonight.

Well, I am going to put in ear plugs, take my new copy of Wise Traditions to bed with me, and hopefully get a good night's sleep.  That will get me over the grumps by morning.  Or anyway, I hope so.  Sigh . . .

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Down on the farm

So many things to report!

My new knee - I am forgetting about it, it is so good.  They kicked me out of physical therapy early.  I not only met the one month goals at three weeks, but I also met the three MONTH goals, in terms of flexibility, strength and stability.  All of this farm work has got to be good for something, and apparently that is quick healing after getting a new knee!

My chicks - for the first time, every chick is still alive after two weeks, including Peep II.  She is malformed, very small body, weak legs, and I found her lying on the floor with the other chicks running roughshod over her.  I brought her in and she has been living out what I thought were her last few days in a box in my closet.  She could not walk, but rather crawled and used her over-sized wings to propel herself.  She liked to sleep in her food dish, so I put another in there, one for her to sleep in, one to eat from.  But she has given up sleeping in the dish, and this morning I found her standing!  On those little, weak legs, she was standing!  This I did not expect.  I just thought I was making her comfortable for her last days.  She seems happy.  I will have to get her a mirror so she has a chicken friend.  The only thing that upsets her is when I turn the lights off.  But that may change as well.

Peep II in her sleeping bowl

Yes, she is standing!  Yay!!

My mood tends to ebb and flow with the supply of milk for the shareholders.  Let's just say I am very happy!  In fact, some of the shareholders are yelling, "Enough, already!"  I am selling shares to the people who were on the waiting list.  After last season's debacle with some bad hay, we just dried up the herd and quit selling shares, so there is a bit of pent up demand.  But it takes a while to get a new person on board, and so the existing shareholders are swimming in milk.  Two more calves over the weekend.  I think I have already posted Lucy with her calf Lacey, and Quattro with her calf Quill.  Here are pics of Smarty Pants and Essie Mae with their offspring, both little bulls.  I am thinking that we should probably keep one of them for breeding stock. 

Smarty Pants & bull calf 3/31/12
Essie Mae & bull calf 4/1/12

Here are the two proud moms with their new offspring.

And let's not forget the greenhouse.  I have a new helper in the greenhouse, and he is working out very well.  We worked on getting seedlings potted up into 2" pots.  My peppers did not germinate very well - they were planted in the weeks before my knee surgery, and I didn't give them proper care.  So today Kyle will finish potting up those that did germinate, and I planted five seedling trays (220 seeds per tray) with pepper seeds.  They are VERY late, but we will hope that they germinate well and get big enough to sell by mid-May.

New pepper seeds planted

Pea bowls & lettuce bowls

Potted up just one week ago.

Yesterday's handiwork